This protected landscape area extends from Ponta dos Frades to Ponta do Norte and comprises Barreiro da Faneca (sometimes called the “Red Desert”) and the Raposo, Cré and Tagarete Bays.
Barreiro da Faneca is a vast surface of arid clayey soil which constitutes a yellow-reddish desert landscape, unique in the Azores. Around it, and together with a couple of exotic plants, there are some species from the primitive Azorean flora, such as green heathers, fire trees and Cape myrtles, whose vivid green colours give the place a kind of oasis ambiance.
Next to the Barreiro we have the Cré Bay, rich in marine fossil deposits, very rare indeed in volcanic areas. The bay’s high and steep cliffs offer a landscape of great beauty.
Raposo Bay follows in continuity, also of great scenic interest for its escarpments, its waterfalls and the mouth of the Ribeira do Engenho.
In a different perspective, Tagarete Bay and its surroundings are important in geological terms, due to their marine fossil deposits; they constitute as well a prime area for the nesting of marine birds.
Still worth mentioning is the ecological importance of all these bays, since their cliffs and slopes, and also the Lagoinhas Islet, are authentic marine bird sanctuaries – several protected species breed there, namely the aforementioned Cory’s shearwater and roseate tern. The common tern (Sterna hirundo) builds its nest here as well.